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NSERC/Hydro One Networks

Senior Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in

Power Systems Engineering




Electric power utilities are keen to develop real time monitoring and automation capabilities within their grids with an objective to accommodate seamless integration of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and to enhance reliability and efficiency of their systems. A distributed but system-centric protection, automation and monitoring system is needed to achieve the above objective. With this in mind, the proposed research program has been formulated with the following objectives:

  • Development of new concepts to enhance power system protection, automation and monitoring.

        Investigating and devising of wide area protection and control schemes to improve the reliability and security of the power system.

  • Development of new protection and automation methods for seamless integration of Distributed Energy Resources.
  • Investigation of accomplishing the secure communication infrastructure for advanced protection, automation and monitoring systems.
  • Training a group of Canadian High Qualified Personnel (HQP) to meet the current and future needs of the Canadian power industry.

Use of communication and advanced computer technologies allows the development of novel concepts, techniques and apparatus for achieving the above-mentioned objectives. The approach in this research program is to develop, simulate and test new protection and automation methods using suitable power system simulation tools considering that the suitable communication infrastructure for information sharing is available. Then, the communication needs, its architecture and characteristics will be determined using communication and network simulation tools. The impact of communication system characteristics on protection, automation and monitoring system will be investigated by further analysis using both the power system and communication and networking simulation tools. Once satisfied with the results obtained through simulation, the developed techniques, methods and technologies will be implemented and tested in the laboratory using DSP development systems, embedded computers, Real-Time Digital Simulator (RTDS), communication network analyzer and specially-designed communication networking facilities.


Proposed Research:

Proposed research pulls within the four research themes as follows:





New knowledge, expertise and technologies that could be transferred to the Canadian industry will be as follows:

  • The new substation and automation standard IEC61850 has already been promoted for use in smart grid. The standard lacks information related to optimal Substation Automation System (SAS) architecture design and synchronization scheme for SAS. The results obtained from the proposed research will overcome this weakness and will contribute to the future revisions of the standard. Also, very little work has been done to use and evaluate the opportunities provided by this standard for realization of advanced protection, monitoring and automation. New protection and automation schemes using IEC61850 services will be developed as a part of this research.

        In the present power systems, low measurement frequency and low-speed communication do not allow the development of fast and effective wide-area protection and monitoring schemes. Future electric grids will have an information network where protection, monitoring and control devices can be coupled together to share data at a high speed. This will allow new protection, monitoring and control methods using wide-area information. The proposed research will develop and test new methods for on-line voltage collapse prediction and control, out-of-step and load shedding relaying and backup relaying.

  • There is practically no work done in developing generalized techniques for protection of distribution systems with microgrids and DERs. The proposed research program will provide such a technique. To facilitate for immediate integration of DGs into existing distribution systems, a novel enhancement of local anti-islanding scheme will also be developed.
  • Communication infrastructure will be an important part of future electric grid. The proposed research program will generate new knowledge and expertise in application of wireless technologies for protection and automation of power systems. Through this research, seamless two-way communication will be achieved by proper selection and application of communication technologies and standards.


Major Benefits:

Both the Canadian industry and Western will benefit from the proposed research. The proposed research will make Western and the Canadian power industry in particular and other high-tech industries in general, a leader in the area where practically no work exists. The proposed research will result in advanced protection, automation and monitoring of power systems thus leading to improved operation of the Canadian electric power grid which will make them reliable, efficient, secure and environmentally-friendly. This research is also of significance to the Canadian high-tech, power equipment and relay manufacturing industries. The high-technology electronics and communication, and power equipment and relay manufacturing industries would benefit from manufacturing and marketing the proposed solutions and technologies.

The proposed research program will not only further enhance Western’s capabilities as a leader in the area of power system protection, automation and monitoring, but will place it among one of the very few institutions to significantly contribute in development of solutions and technologies for the anticipated smart grid. In addition, this will help Western to contribute towards the training of highly qualified personnel in the above areas so vital for the Canadian economy. Quality publications expected to emerge from this novel proposal will add to scientific and engineering knowledge in the field of protection, automation and monitoring. Results of this research will place Canada to be a main contributor to standards and codes in the area of smart grid.